Me and Omar Tyree at the Harlem Book Festival

Me and Omar Tyree at the Harlem Book Festival

TO BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH LOVE...

Today is the first day of Black History Month, which is not only for African Americans, but for ALL Americans. Because, we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us... and African Americans have been instrumental is building the continuous foundation on which this country stands. Not just with our blood, sweat and tears, but also with our innovations in practically every area of society.

As someone who never dreamed of becoming a writer, I realize that my ability to write and my opportunity to publish has come because of the writers who paved the way before me. I can still remember being a child reading Langston Hughes words in Mother to Son, "Well son, I'll tell you: Life for me ain't been no crystal stair..."

A MOMENT IN HISTORY...

As I stand here as the author of this Speedsuit Powers Trilogy (which I was afraid to write - thanks to my wife for telling me 'You can do this!), doing my best to impact this generation with something positive, I have to say THANK YOU to the writer who personally helped me get started on this path as an Author: Omar Tyree.

Omar Tyree came to visit my alma mater, Bethune-Cookman University (then College) in 1995 as part of a Communications conference. He had just self-published his first book, Battlezone. He wasn't the only panelist present that day. Others represented television, radio and newspaper. But something about Omar's presentation set a blaze in me and uncovered a passion for writing which I never knew existed! I suddenly had an insatiable thirst to find out everything about becoming an author.

At the end of his presentation, I was the last student to receive his book. He said with a smile, "You were that brother who was asking me all of those questions." He then signed his name on the title page and added these words, "Keep Asking Questions!"

I will never forget this day, when the unimaginable dream of me being an author was kindled within my chest. But I didn't know what to do with it. Two weeks later, I felt God 'tap me on the shoulder' and say, "I want you to write a book." Now, over 20 years later, here I am, a writer/author who has self-published 5 books (so far).

THE POWER OF HISTORY

The older I become, the more I realize the value of learning about history; not just where I come from, but what has been done, what obstacles have been overcome, and even what failures have been made. These lessons have the ability to help forge a bright future for anyone who will heed them.

So, as we begin Black History Month, I say THANK YOU to ALL of the writers/authors who have come before me, the writers I've read and the many I have yet to encounter. THANK YOU to the writers/authors who are my contemporaries, seeking to share great stories with the world. THANK YOU for sharing your heart, imagination, experience, critical mind and talent with the world in an effort to inspire, motivate and educate us to strive for greatness and significance in life.

THANK YOU for uncovering the truth - that we can have something worthwhile to say. This Speedsuit Powers Trilogy stands in the 'marketplace of ideas' and is presented to the world because of the legacy you have created.

Allen Paul Weaver III
Author, Speedsuit Powers Trilogy
Wednesday February 1, 2017